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Monday, June 22, 2015

ECONOMICS @IIT KANPUR

Economics as a subject fascinates me and I many times advice my students to go for this but almost all times I can't convince them to go for Economics instead of engineering. While surfing I found this article on Quora. I am sharing it with you

Firstly, I would like to congratulate you on this remarkable feat of clearing IIT-JEE 2015. Feel good about yourself, and tighten your seat belts further. You will now step into a roller coaster ride for the next 4 (maybe 5) years. It will have its ups and downs...but it's your choice to either scream or enjoy the ride.

For introductions, I am Pushp Toshniwal, Final Year Dual Degree Undergraduate at the Department of Economics at IIT Kanpur.
I have been receiving a queries regarding BS Economics program at IIT Kanpur and Economics in general. This post is about a couple of points that I would like to bring forward that I think will help certain students who are totally clueless about their interest and Economics program at IIT Kanpur.
To begin with, I would urge you to go through Professor Dheeraj Sanghi's blog "A Guide to JEE Counseling 2011" and his latest posts on counselling. It enlists everything you must know before filling in your final options.

Since, all of us are in race against time, I'll take some excerpts from some of the excellent posts written by my friends and professors here at IIT Kanpur.  

Firstly, Why IIT Kanpur? I believe Shashwat Chandra does an excellent job of answering this question

Why IIT Kanpur? The cultural festival of IIT Kanpur, Antaragni, is run virtually entirely by students. The Students' Gymkhana is a body made by students of all batches. The New SAC (Students' Activity Centre, a place for people to hang out) was majorly planned by the students of three batches, and the franchises selected for its food court were selected by a panel of students. The degree of freedom given to students at IIT Kanpur is, in my opinion, definitely larger than most other institutes. IIT Kanpur also has the distinct advantage of being in a city that is much lesser developed than places like Mumbai and Delhi. Why is this an advantage? IIT Kanpur has become self-contained, because there is a larger incentive to make everything available on campus. The choices of extra-curricular activities are larger, the food options are cheaper and more varied, and all sections of the campus are together, making it a tighter, closer-knit location. Each club has its own advantages. Some clubs improve your speaking skill; others teach you a new art; even others let you hone your intellect in the direction you want. Art, music, literature, dance, electronics, robotics, photography, whatever your interest, there is going to be an outlet. If there isn't, it is not hard to create an outlet or a club for an interest you feel will benefit you. There are certain to be more people interested in the things you like.


Switching back to our agenda here, the first reaction of all the people who see this in the brochure or to whoever I tell is that how come there is an Economics program at a technical institute like IIT Kanpur? Isn't Economics a Social Science? Would we be discriminated on any grounds whatsoever if we opt for this branch?

Mr. Vimal Kumar, Assistant Professor of Economics, at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur shares his thoughts on this, 

Yes, Economics is basically a social science. However, it has acquired certain characteristics of engineering disciplines.  According to New Oxford American Dictionary, Engineering is the branch of science and technology concerned with the design, building, and use of engines, machines, and structures.  Of course, Economists don't design or build machines or any physical structures for that matter. However, if you pay attention to the definition of Engineering, you will see that the keywords used in defining the discipline are designed, build, and use of structures. Exactly the same words are used to describe the dominant methodology of Economics, Economic Modelling.

For example, engineers (TATA's) sensing the need and  a market for cheap cars in the society, designed and built a small car called Nano. The process can be described as the combination of formulating the problem and providing a solution. Economists are increasingly called upon to work in the similar fashion. They are supposed to design and/or provide a solution of myriad social problems. The key words are design and provision of a solution to a problem at the hand. The similarities between these two disciplines don't end at the abstract level. The way Economists search/design/provide solutions to societal problems is very similar to the way engineers search/design/provide solutions to engineering problems. At the core is, most of the time, a sound mathematical modelling. Yes, of course, engineers go further and build a prototype which economists can't. But mathematical modelling at the core remains the same.

Speaking from experience, in your first semester your friends might raise a question on why you opted for Economics after qualifying JEE, you could have opted for DU instead? To which you can always give an answer after reading this write-up. Apart from this little issue, there is no discrimination on any grounds whatsoever (academically or otherwise).

Now moving on to the curriculum, academic curriculum at IITK was revised in 2011 and the new curriculum is probably one of the most flexible among all the IITs. 

During the first year, all courses are department neutral. You will get to learn Mechanics and Electromagnetic Theory in Physics, Organic, Inorganic and Physical Chemistry in Chemistry, Basic Life Sciences (yes Biology), Engineering Graphics, Linear Algebra and Calculus in Mathematics and (the dreaded) morning exercises. Having a department-neutral first year curriculum works out for students who change their branches (Branch changes are tricky, don't count on them). And to widen your horizon a little, you will be doing five courses in Humanities and Social Sciences (apart from Economics) during your four year stay.

From the second year onwards, you will have courses in Economics along with other compulsory courses and electives.
For the departmental core courses (compulsory courses related to Economics), please refer to the following document, "Economics Core Courses - Google Drive"

There would be 2 Science electives (to be chosen among Physics/Chemistry/ Maths courses offered as Electives) and 2 ESO's (Engineering Science courses offered) to be chosen. Along with these, we have 6 Open Electives (option of doing a course of your liking from any Department you desire including management courses) and about 3 to 4 Departmental Electives (courses from economics itself). By choosing the open electives from a discipline which interests you, you can even go for a minor in that discipline provided you fulfill the criteria set. For example, if you are interested in Mathematics, you can take OE's accordingly that make you eligible to obtain a Minor in Mathematics after 4years with a Major in Economics.

Coming over to placements (which I don't know why you should be concerned about if you are good in your subject!), I can assure you almost all jobs are high profile. We get placed along with other department fellows in profiles that fit us. The paychecks are good enough and I would prefer keeping this portion short.
And yes you have a lot of options after your graduation, MBA/ IAS/ Government organizations and MS from a good foreign university always open.

In my opinion, Economics is a unique program with a wide range of scope and application. The courses are very interesting and you surely won't hate your branch if not love it. Personally, I feel I made a good decision choosing Economics over my other options (that being core courses like Civil/ Chemical at IT-BHU in 2011). The plethora of activities we have here, and the curriculum flexibility (which I personally make utmost use of) are one of the prime reasons for this. 
Lastly, if you are worried what your relatives/ acquaintances would think of you opting for Economics instead of Computers (been there, experienced that), just ignore them.  As someone rightly said, 'kuch to log kahenge, logo ka kaam hai kehna'

Hope this helps in making an informed decision.

Feel free to ask any questions, you could drop a mail at 'pushp@iitk.ac.in' or you could ping me on Facebook Pushp Toshniwal | Facebook

Pushp Toshniwal,
11546,
IIT Kanpur.

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous1:35 PM

    Sir, please tell about Pharma in BITS, its future prospects & options for higher studies.
    is it advisable to join this course as compared to tier 2 NITS ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't know much about that course option

      Delete
  2. Anonymous10:30 PM

    Sir please, plz Reply...

    ReplyDelete